Election salad-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Thursday, June 28, 2012
COFFEE shops are doubly alive! Political parties are fast forming shapes. Election is now a succulent topic. Politicians start daydreaming. Organizations mushroom even in lowly sitios and puroks. Ah, the scent of election is here!
It is good that in a democracy like ours we have concerned people who do not just think of politics and politicians. Their main concern is political reform. Our electoral process chuckled when the Gloria-gate wiretap tape was brought forward by vigilant men and women of our tri-media. The phone call made by “Senator” to “Commissioner” became the classic joke of the decade. That was a case of vote padding-shaving, popularly known as “dagdag-bawas.”
That came to the surface and many incidents of the same kind were later revealed. That proved one thing. Election cheating in the Philippines could be done. We only need the highest bidders. Presidential and senatorial bids have their waterloo in Mindanao. In the past, cheating involved the so-called-wolves in Comelec and the weaklings in the upper strata of our police and military organizations.
If we talk of elections now, we have also to consider electoral reforms. Automation in balloting and counting is just one part of the reform. The engineers of fraud should be removed from Comelec. The PNoy administration could be a barometer of the Philippine elections. Are we bound to follow the trail of PGMA, or do we take the “matuwid na daan” this time? The 2013 elections will be a springboard in the restructuring of our society.
Other than improved automation, we need stronger laws to check vote buying, coercion, electioneering, overspending, turncoatism, and political dynasties. We want large electoral districts to be broken up to give opportunity to the rise of new leaders. Comelec officials should not allow themselves to be manipulated by crooked politicians. Comelec needs a revamp. The same old guards will commit the same old mistakes.
In the past, Comelec spent hundreds of millions of pesos for precinct mapping, photographing, fingerprinting of official ID cards and registration of absentee voters abroad. All these remained nightmares. We also experienced mixing up voters’ list and precinct assignments. (My family was a victim of this.) More than a million voters were disenfranchised and cursed the voting system.
Automation in the last election was better. We cannot afford to go back to manual ballot counting. The Stone Age method would take us two months to know the results and candidates would again buy votes from horse traders. I was told that even a town mayor candidate could spend P50 million when the office is hotly contested. It’s a big drain in the family investment and recovery may involve a foul formula.
It is our quest that the Comelec commissioner, senior election officers, teachers and all those who will be deputized will undergo a morality cleansing. They have to undergo examination of conscience, review their kind of commitment and dedication, refresh their hearts and minds with the gospel of truth; and the Comelec as an independent body should formulate a new code for a reformed body.
Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. If the government is ill, good men will cure it. Let us find virtue in our midst.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 28, 2012.